Sports Editor Bob Chavez and photographer Jack Haley earn state journalism awards

CANANDAIGUA — The Daily Messenger earned two awards for first-place feature story and second-place spot news photo in the 2018 New York State Associated Press Association contest. The annual contest recognizes excellence in writing, photography and design.

Thirty-two newspapers submitted more than 680 entries and 47 radio and television stations submitted more than 580 entries for the contest, which is for stories broadcast, printed or posted online in 2018. The winners were announced June 1 at the organization's annual banquet in Saratoga Springs.

Sports Editor Bob Chavez and freelance photographer Jack Haley were recognized for newspapers in Division 1.

The Associated Press recognized Chavez for his story, “A Reversal of Fortunes,” which detailed the story of Canandaigua Academy wrestlers Othman and Mohamad Damlakhi and their Syrian family.

Here’s what the judges said: “This is a wonderful story that does a great job of telling this family's story. I especially appreciated the in-depth historical context the writer gave on the Syrian conflict and that the story followed the family from their time in Syria and Turkey to the U.S. I also liked that the writer included the perspectives of several family members, not just the two sons primarily featured. Imagining their reunion in Turkey made me emotional.”

The Associated Press recognized Haley for his photo of a firefighter about to enter a burning home in Cheshire in January 2018.

The judges said simply: “Good photo.”